Day 1 - February 4th, 2008
Starting point: Norris City, Illinois
Finishing point: Nebraska City, Nebraska
Starting time: 5 p.m.
Finishing time: 2 a.m.
Miles travelled: 567
Phillip, on the left, and me.
First stop, five minutes down the road.
He never did get it to work properly, even though he fooled with it for at least an hour and a half. Almost until we left I-64 West at St. Louis, Missouri, and transferred to I-70 West. We figured the cassette deck was at fault and would not allow it to play properly. It was a valiant effort, but in the end, we had to do without all that beautiful travelling music.
The Gateway Arch and the riverfront area, St. Louis, Missouri.
Kansas City here we come.
After we had left St. Louis, we settled in for a steady night's drive. At least, that's what we thought. Unfortunately, the weather stepped in to prevent us from having an uneventful trip. The first time of many that it did so. I didn't find out until 2 days later, but this was the night that storms ripped through the midwest, spawning dozens of tornadoes and killing over 60 people. I also found out that four tornadoes passed over my hometown of Norris City, but fortunately, they didn't touch down there. Well, I'm certain that we went through activity that could have spawned a tornado, but all we saw was lots of rain and thunder and lightning. After we had gotten past that, we ran into a heavy fog. To tell the truth, I think we saw every kind of weather pattern imaginable on this trip, except maybe drought.
Before we got to Kansas City, we found a truck stop to eat a very late dinner. We tried for a fast food joint, but none either suited our preferences or were still open. The truck stop restaurant had good food, but their bathroom was closed for repairs so it's customers had to use this huge semi trailer-sized porta-john located in front. It was not a very pleasant atmosphere for either one of us. We ate and quickly got back on the road.
I-70 West took us to Kansas City, Missouri, which we skirted around and got onto I-29 North, headed for Iowa. The particular route we had chosen consisted mainly of staying on interstates the whole way and aside from about 30 miles between Iowa and where we stopped for the first night, and from there into Lincoln, Nebraska, we were able to keep to them. Another peculiarity of this trip was that we only spent about four and a half miles in Iowa on the way out and the same amount coming back. And, owing to the fact that the first time we went through it was at night, there wasn't much of the area to be seen. But, I'll have a few pictures to post of the state on the return trip, Day 6.
Once into Iowa, we found a shortcut that led us in the general direction of I-80 West, our next major road. It was getting late, so we found a decent-sized town called Nebraska City that was on into Nebraska and stopped to find a motel. The first one we tried, about a block from the road we were using, was booked up completely, so we had to try one of the other three located there. We drove past them all, giving them the once over, but in the end, we decided that one called the Deluxe Inn looked to be the best of the lot.
The Deluxe Inn. Nice.... but hardly a seven-star motel like the sign would indicate.
We pushed the buzzer, at about 2 a.m., and a guy that must have surely been asleep came to check us in. He was Indian and very friendly about it, though. I couldn't imagine being as cordial if I had been awakened from sleep at that hour. We basically got our room and went up to the second floor and crashed. I left a wake-up call for 6 a.m. the next morning, as we wanted to leave by 7 to get a good start on the day. It's a good thing we did. It started snowing just before we left, so we wolfed down a donut for me and a cup of coffee for him and drove away.
The breakfast buffet at the Deluxe Inn.
The front facade of the Deluxe Inn, as we were leaving the next morning.
As we drove away amidst snow flurries that kept getting heavier by the minute, we began Day 2 of our trip. Little did we know what awaited us just down the road apiece. That part will be continued in my next blog. Be sure not to miss it!